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Tuesday, January 14, 2014

PC Support Scammers

Ever receive a call that goes something like this?

This is Microsoft Technical Support calling. Your Windows computer has been found to be infected with viruses that could jeopardize your personal information (or something similar). We can help you.
It happened to me (again) last week when I received a call from a woman with a heavy (Indian?) accent who claimed to be from Microsoft Technical Support. Coincidentally, there was a lot of background noise, similar to what might be overheard in a busy call center. I was told that my Windows computer was sending ominous messages indicating it had a virus. After Grenville got on the phone and asked for a manager, a similarly accented male speaker give us the same bogus message.

The intended goal was to give remote access to "troubleshoot and remove the offending virus(es)." Here's the irony, my HP Windows computer was NOT turned on AND I had run a full scan the night before, after we returned home from PA. It had also been turned off during that time and the power supply shut down as we always do when leaving to travel.

What did we do?
Hung up, then turned on the computer and ran another full scan with no negative results.

In doing an online search, I learned that Microsoft has warnings about this type of scam. Also, Microsoft is in the business of making money from tech support and does not give away free customer support. Microsoft will never call a user unsolicited.


According to the Microsoft security site, once scammers have access to a PC, they can install malicious software, steal personal information, take remote control of a PC or direct consumers to fraudulent websites where they are asked to enter their credit card information. Microsoft Safety & Security Center has published guidelines here.

The U.S. Federal Trade Commission (FTC) is also aware of these fraudulent calls. You can read about Tech Support Scams - how they work and what actions you can take.


As frightening as a call like this can be to the uninformed PC user, best action is do nothing AND hang upYou won't risk having your computer's privacy invaded.

This tech support scam has exploded nationwide and people are falling prey to it every day, based on fear and lack of advance knowledge.

If you get a call claiming it's from Microsoft, HANG UP, and DO NOT turn on your PC and never allow remote access under any circumstances.


While tech-savvy folks, like many of you, are unlikely to fall for this scam, you may have relatives and friends who lack the necessary dose of skepticism and PC wisdom. Spread the word and help keep these scammers from harming others.

22 comments:

Daisy said...

I haven't had any calls like this, but I have heard of others who have. Thanks for spreading the word.

Tammy@Simple Southern Happiness said...

I did ask hubby and he was aware of this scam. He says that they will ask for your email, then send you an email with a link in it and you click on that link that will then start to download a program to your computer and that is when they can then get into your computer. Our computer tech guy/friend has to do this to our computer when we have trouble with it. He then can get into our computer from where he is and run all kinds of scans.

So never click on links inside emails that you have not ask the sender if they sent you this. I never open those emails that people forward to me either, those are risky as well. Hubby by accident got one from a friend and it contained a virus. The friend's email was hacked into and many were hit hard and he was so sorry to hear of it as he did not know his email had been hacked.

Just be on the look out for emails with attachments too even if its from friends. I will not open them but write to the friend to ask if they sent me an email with an attachemt.

Cant be to careful so keep on your toes.

Keep warm my friend!

Montanagirl said...

I've heard of these scams as well. I much prefer my iMac to Windows Machines. At this point in time, my Mac has never had a virus, and I don't have virus software on it. They just don't get them. 99% of the viruses out there are written for Windows Machines; Macs run on a whole different operating system. (Knock on wood).

Debbie said...

YiKeS!! ya' gotta be smart!!

Out on the prairie said...

Kind of gutsy

Country Gal said...

They are Vultures especially to older people that have computers and really are not that techy at all . Papa here is the one that takes care of all our computers . Always have a security wall program with in your computers . Home computers they really don't waste time with it is business ones they like to try and hack more info . I hope one day these creeps are caught ! Thanks for sharing and giving a heads up to us all we all have to be reminded that not every one is so nice ! Have a good day !

NCmountainwoman said...

It just infuriates me that people can call (unsolicited and unwelcome) my home and try to make me fall for such scams. I "block" a lot of calls but they seem to have an infinite number of lines so they call up on another with the same lies. And the "do not call" line in our state does little to stop them.

L. D. said...

The situation is getting to be out of control. We live in a society based on some form of honesty and yet all those outside of our lands know it and take advantage of it. I bought one cup of coffee at Target on one of the last days they discovered sammers. We we watch our bank account daily. I try to hang up instantly on anyone who cannot pronounce my name or seem to be calling in a large room of people.

Grammy Goodwill said...

One of our newspaper's columnists just wrote a piece about this same scam. I'm glad you didn't fall for it.

Rebecca said...

Good catch!

A Quiet Corner said...

Thanks for paying it forward!...:)JP

grammie g said...

Hi B..... I was getting these calls back in the fall.. The first call I got was like you said the guy ( this one with an Oriental sounding accent)went through this very same line about my computer!!
Then he said are you in front of your computer?? (Me)..No!! (He)..can you be at your computer?? (Me)..No I am on the toilet lol!! He very quickly hung up!!
Within 2 hours I got my second call same story only a women...I hung up!! I took note of the phone # on my ID!!
My phone rang with that number for 2 days.. I saw that number and ignored it until I was so ticked I answered the phone and shouted "DON"T CALL HERE AGAIN"!! They never have called since !!: )

Thanks for your post!! I should have probably don't this !!

Grace

Blackberry Lane said...

John has received such a call and thankfully knew to hang up. It seems we all have to be on our guard re scams!

DeniseinVA said...

Dreadful! Thanks for the head's up. I have several elderly relatives and friends and I will make them aware of your post.

Elaine said...

Yes, I've gotten a scammer call like this, only I was told my computer was missing some script and Windows would quit running in a couple of days. They too wanted to download a fix for me, but I declined. I did call my local computer store and quizzed them about it, and they assured me it was a scam. They do know all the right things to say to make you unsure whether what they're saying is true or not. Best to just hang up, like we both did.

Emma Springfield said...

That is the reason I often do not answer my phone if I do not know the number calling me. It seems that too many want to take advantage of someone else. I am so happy you did not fall for it.

Cheryl @ TFD said...

We've had numerous calls of this type. No way am I falling for their spiel. In fact, I wasn't very nice to the heavily accented man that called yesterday when I told him that to quit scamming and leave us the heck alone! I'm really getting weary of these type calls and we also get the same one that we've gotten probably a 100 types that tell us that "this is your final offer" of lowering our rates on a credit card! I always pay ours off and don't carry a balance and I'm not falling for that line, either! Too bad there isn't something we can do to keep them from harassing us.

possum said...

Read something interesting yesterday... the people most often contacted by scammers are folks who subscribe to things like publisher's clearing house... their info is for sale and since they reply to that sales pitch, they are deemed more susceptible than others.

I, too, hang up as soon as I find out who they are or they mispronounce my name.

Triumph said...

They use fear to get you to believe they are the good guys when they are just the opposite. Fear motivates us to make bad judgements. Stay calm and know you're being conned.

Patrica Ball Morrison said...

That's one I'd not heard of before...but I don't talk to any unknown callers and certainly not any unsolicited...beware is good advice.

William Kendall said...

I've heard of this scam before.

If Shakespeare were around today, he'd amend that line in his play: "first thing we do is kill all the scammers."

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